Hinds supervisor says elected official let McDaniel supporters into closed courthouse

Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham said he was “shocked” to learn that an elected county official let supporters of Chris McDaniel into the county courthouse in the wee hours after the June 3 primary election.

“I was briefed yesterday by the district attorney,” Graham said Tuesday. “The reports that a county employee let them in is completely wrong. It was an elected official.”

Graham would not name the county elected official who allegedly let the McDaniel supporters into the closed courthouse, pending a district attorney’s report on the incident.

But Hinds County Constable Jon Lewis, a McDaniel supporter, said, “That’s me they’re referring to, but it’s a crock …” He said he called the McDaniel campaign about 10:30 the night of the election and told them they needed to get people to the Hinds Courthouse to oversee ballots and counting, but he then went home and went to sleep.

“Also-one million-percent it was not me,” Lewis said. “I’ve talked to the DA. I think that’s their assumption. But no one let them in. The damned door was jammed, and that’s how they got in.”

Lewis said he’s done his own investigation into the incident, trying to clear the McDaniel supporters.

“What they told me was that they talked to a Jackson police officer across the street,” Lewis said. “He came over and said he didn’t have access, but ‘look, that door’s propped open.’ They went in, and the door closed behind them.”

District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith has been looking into the courthouse incident after the Sheriff’s Department concluded a brief investigation. Smith has said he does not expect any criminal charges but is looking to see if there was a security issue at the courthouse.

Clarion Ledger
6/18/14